With a suit, a pillow, a change of clothing and some bread and jam, he said goodbye to his family in 1912 and, with several other boys from the village, went by horse and buggy to the nearest railway station at Lyubashevka, 16 miles away.

From there his destination was Luba in Latvia. Boarding a cattle boat for Hull and then a Cunard ship, the S.S. Lake Erie, he sailed for Canada to join his brother Sam. With only 50 cents left to get him to Winnipeg, he received food for the journey from the Jewish Immigrant Aid Society. Sitting on the handlebars of Sam’s bicycle, David rode to his first job in Winnipeg, wrapping and tying hams at Swift Canadian, earning 9 ½ cents per hour. After being asked to work on Yom Kippur, he quit and became Sam’s assistant. Sam, who had graduated in electrical engineering at a technical school in Odessa, taught Dave everything he could. Dave also enrolled at St. John’s Technical School to take further courses.

He became very skilled at everything mechanical and electrical.

Fascinated by the charismatic personality of Theodore Herzl, David became active in the Young Zionists of Winnipeg, later becoming a major figure in the Zionist movement.

While visiting his brothers Sam and Charlie, who had moved to Watrous, Saskatchewan, Dave joined them in the purchase of an abandoned generator to bring power to the small town. However, Dave did not stay long in Watrous as he agreed to return to Europe in 1922 to bring out the remaining members of the Nemetz family.

Dave brought out 30 people, including his parents Abraham and Toba, his brothers Bill and Leo, his sister Chava, her husband Abrasha Wosk and their baby, and the youngest sister, Esther.

Returning to Watrous, David worked as a lineman on power poles. There he met his beloved, Rose Baru, a schoolteacher. He proposed shortly after, marrying in 1927. With $5,000, they moved to Vancouver and, in 1930, bought an old store called Standard Furniture, which Dave renamed Standard Electric. He operated this store for 25 years, selling and repairing appliances, radios and washing machines. For a short time, he also operated a 139-acre dairy and cattle farm in Pitt Meadows. 

Thank you to the Jewish Museum and Archives of British Columbia for the use of their archival material and support.